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Issues of the letter are important not the leak

 

MAYANK SINGH | New Delhi, April 3, 2012 18:03
Tags : indian army modernisation | army chief vk singh letter | army chief letter leak |
 

Indian army modernisation Amidst the furore on the issue of leak of the sensitive letter written by Army Chief General VK Singh to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the critical issue of alerting the latter about the serious and deficient state of Army is lost.

The issues flagged by the letter written by an Army Chief to its political head, the Prime Minister, were to apprise latter of the large gaps in the modernisation and replacement of old inventory of the Army. The question of timing of this leak is valid but is it a bigger issue than that of the problems with which the Indian Army is suffering and is known to the wide world.

Former Deputy Chief of Army, Lieutenant General (Retd) Raj Kadyan is of the belief that it is the content which, apart from the issue of leak, should be given a proper attention. He said, “What the Army Chief wrote about the issues of shortage in the areas of Artillery, Air Defence and ammunition are nothing new.”

He added that it is important because our neighbours are also passing through the same phase of economic progress which India is enjoying. “The public should be asking our ministers that when we are no more a poor country and our borders are volatile why this shortage is? So, it is incumbent of the policy makers and our political leadership to keep our forces well prepared to meet every exigency,” said General Kadyan.

While the reports on artillery guns not being bought after Bofors Scandal, more than 25 years, Obsolete Air Defence equipments, Special Forces lagging behind in its specialized weaponry, Navy underwater combat capability dwindling to a serious low, IAF making to do with the decreasing level of fighting squadrons has been debated so many times but this has never lead to resolve the matter.

Admiral (Retd) Sureesh Mehta has been outspoken about our forces loosing the balance of power against the enemy forces. He says, “At this time everybody is in the process of modernisation but in this time also we are returning money unspent. It shows the lack of advance planning by the forces as well. Navy has been able to project well in advance thus it has been able to spend its money well in time.”

But the lack of planning from the forces side is just one of the many other bigger issues plaguing the modernisation process. “With the priorities of the approving financial authorities changing the files are kept pending in the months of March. Lots of work is done in this time and thus several approvals are not given and the money is returned back,” he added.

Solution can be in the form of not only streamlining and compressing the time of clearances and also rolling over the amount of money which is left unspent as suggested by Admiral Mehta.

Our Defence Minister AK Antony has himself admitted at various occasions that defence modernisation and infrastructure development have lagged behind. Given the jolt of the letter, as it got public, issue has taken the real focus out.

While agreeing unanimously, both Admiral Mehta and General Kadyan say that the situation on ground is not such that our enemy can come and run-over but it surely needs an urgent attention.

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017